Love in Orbit - Chapter 3 - SteamyEarlGray (2024)

Chapter Text

Asher and Gray returned to the cafeteria where they had breakfast and lunch. There are more league members there than techs at the tables than earlier, a group of teenaged heroes sitting at a table on the far slide of the space chatting loudly. Gray glances around at all the heroes in the room, taking it all in, seeing what he recognizes as he goes up to get his food.

There was a green lantern speaking with Green Arrow and Black Canary at a table by one of the windows. Asher nods to a few of the other heroes as they walk past, even offering a small hello to Stargirl. He grabs a tray and starts to move through the line.

Gray does the same and doesn’t get as much food as before, but still gets a notable-sized portion, sitting with Asher at whatever table he leads. Asher picks an empty table towards the edge of the room, sitting with his bag to the window so he can look out over the rest of the room. Gray seems tired and rests his chin in his palm as he eats.

Most of the heroes seem to be glancing over as they pass, focusing on Gray before looking away.

“Is there f*cking something on my face?” Gray asks, looking around a bit at all of the people who have been staring at him.

“Nope,” Asher says after looking up from his meal. He looks over and makes eye contact with a few of the different league members who quickly turn away, although this doesn’t seem to stop the teens on the other side of the room who seem to just wave at him. “The ones fully staring tend to just stare at strangers. Give it a day, it’ll stop.”

“Ah, okay,” He says, then gives a small smile and waves back to one of the teens that had waved at him.

“That’s Kid Flash and Beast Boy waving,” Asher says, glancing up at the teens again before turning back to Gray. “Normally Young Justice meets at the titan’s headquarters but since Flash gave his access to them it looks like they’re going to be hanging around for a while.”

“Super kids. That’s wacky,” Gray says and offers a peace sign to the teens before turning back to Asher. “Bet they’re having fun then.”

"It's wild, I remember getting a letter from my mother when I was stationed overseas about Robin," Asher tilts his head slightly as he lets out a small laugh, "I remember she would always send newspaper clippings of the stories she thought were most important. The first child vigilante made the cut that week."

“I think I remember that, too,” Gray laughs a bit. “I wanted to know how the f*ck he did it, but the answer is connections, and I never had good ones.”

"It's always connections," Asher hums, smiling as he shakes his head and looks back down at his meal. "That's part of how I ended up here anyways."

“Oh yeah? Have you told me how long you’ve been here already? Todays has been a blur, man,” Gray sighs.

"I've been working with the Justice League for the last thirteen years. First as one of the military lesions and now in my current role," Asher says nonchalantly, not looking up from his food.

“Wow. That’s a lot of dedication to the whole thing, that’s like your whole adult life,” Gray whistles softly. “Hope it’s been good to ya. Seems so.”

Asher can’t help but laugh, “Most of my adult life? I suppose so, it’s either been the Justice League or the air force since I graduated college.”

“How are you not a total hardass then?” Gray asks incredulously, then laughs. “Good god.”

"You just have yet to see me on a protocol launch day. Besides, can't be a hardass to the new recruit, that's how you scare them off," Asher smiles softly at Gray before winking and starting to finish his meal.

“You’re pretty big on not scaring me off, I’m flattered you think I’m so delicate,” Gray snickers a bit, finishing his meal quickly and leaning back.

The blond hums, finishing his food and starting to gather up his things. “I’ll be by to get you a bit earlier tomorrow. The day after is the start of my week off so you’ll be in your cell for most of it unless a leaguer signs you out.”

“A leaguer can sign me out? What the f*ck would they do that for? Like normal sh*t? Not being beaten to death or whatever,” Gray says, standing and stretching.

“Like for a meal in the cafeteria,” Asher says, picking up his tray. “We don’t do corporal punishment here.”

“Aw. I thought you meant like takin’ me out for a field trip. Something exciting,” Gray grins a little, then scoffs. “Good to know. Not that it super matters or anything.”

“Maybe someday,” Asher laughs softly shaking his head as he heads to the dish return.

“Hopefully someday. It would be a bummer to never be able to leave this thingy,” He gestures around with his chin.

“As soon as your trial is over,” Asher slides his tray onto one of the open spots before continuing towards the door. “Unless you can convince the founders unanimously.”

“Oh? Do they like magic shows?” Gray asks. “I can do card tricks. That’ll probably impress them.”

Asher snorts softly, “I’m sure some of them do but you’ll have to compete with the literal magic users onboard.”

“Ehh, old school magic is in, I hear. I think some of them could really use the entertainment, probably,” He snickers. “Sleight of hand is underrated.”

Asher smiles over at Gray as they head down the hall toward the elevator. “I can get you a deck of cards next time I’m Earthside if you’d like.”

“Seriously? That would be really awesome. Damn,” Gray blinks a bit, clearly surprised at the display of kindness.

“Things get boring around here, as long as you don’t start a gambling ring you’ll be fine.” Asher leans over to press the call button for the elevator

“So definitely gonna start a gambling ring, then,” Gray laughs, then grins a bit mischievously.

“Just be careful. Don’t play with the Martians. They skim surface thoughts to cheat,” Asher tucks a hand into his pocket as the elevator doors open.

“Eh. I don’t play to win, I just like to play,” Gray smiles a bit, then follows Asher out of the elevator.

“That’s a good mindset,” He says with a small nod, offering Gray a softer smile as they head down the hall.

“It’s more fun when you don’t care so much about the outcome anyway.” Gray shrugs a bit.

“True.” Asher walks Gray the rest of the way to the cell and reactivates the force field before leaving for the night.

The next day is boring like Asher had warned, but the other members of the IT Security team were friendly enough, a few taking the time to introduce themselves and attempt to chat with Gray.

Hi, Mr. Wayne. This might seem odd but some mutual friends gave me this number and said to text. They said they’d mention me to you, I’m Asher Austin.

Bruce freezes as he reads over the name. Asher. He can't help but think back to the week he had spent watching the alternate blond spend time with his children and how attached they got to him. He had just gotten around to checking his messages, hours after receiving them. The kids couldn’t have told him about it, could they? Bruce frowns and reads over the text again before responding.

Mr. Austin. I recognize the name from IT, and they mentioned something about realtors. Sorry to hear about your house.

It’s alright, I was hardly there and my important items managed to mostly survive. I hope it’s not too much of a bother to ask for help hunting around for a new place.

It shouldn’t be a problem. I know of a few realtors that I could get you in contact with if that would help.

That definitely would. Thank you so much.

Asher gets no response from Bruce for several days as he goes about his typical duties. He comes back after dinner one evening to find a message on his computer from Bruce, containing a very thorough list of realtors in the area, and attached to some options, Bruce adds he may need accompaniment from Bruce himself to actually get a good discount from them.

Love in Orbit - Chapter 3 - SteamyEarlGray (2024)


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